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Evaluating Impact Using Time-Series Data.

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Wauchope, Hannah S 
Amano, Tatsuya 
Geldmann, Jonas 
Johnston, Alison 
Simmons, Benno I 


Humanity's impact on the environment is increasing, as are strategies to conserve biodiversity, but a lack of understanding about how interventions affect ecological and conservation outcomes hampers decision-making. Time series are often used to assess impacts, but ecologists tend to compare average values from before to after an impact; overlooking the potential for the intervention to elicit a change in trend. Without methods that allow for a range of responses, erroneous conclusions can be drawn, especially for large, multi-time-series datasets, which are increasingly available. Drawing on literature in other disciplines and pioneering work in ecology, we present a standardised framework to robustly assesses how interventions, like natural disasters or conservation policies, affect ecological time series.



before-after-control-intervention, causal inference, counterfactual, difference in differences, interrupted time series, longitudinal data, Biodiversity, Conservation of Natural Resources, Ecology

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Trends Ecol Evol

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Elsevier BV
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Marie Sk?odowska-Curie actions (706784)
HSW was supported by the Cambridge Trust Poynton Scholarship, Cambridge Department of Zoology J.S. Gardiner Studentship and Cambridge Philosophical Society; TA was supported by the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT180100354) and the University of Queensland strategic funding; JG was supported by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie program (No. 706784) and VILLUM FONDEN (VKR023371); BIS was supported by a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship; WJS is funded by Arcadia and JPGJ was supported by the Leverhulme Trust: RPG-2014-056.